Firefighter with breast cancer needs your help to stop dangerous chemicals in homes
  • Petitioning CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum

This petition will be delivered to:

Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman
CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum

Firefighter with breast cancer needs your help to stop dangerous chemicals in homes

    1. Petition by

      Janette Neves Rivera and the Center for Environmental Health

I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer last year. The news was a really big shock. I have no family history of the disease. It got even worse when the doctor told me the cancer is most likely related to my job and environment as a firefighter. Later I learned that most women with breast cancer have no family or other known risk factors.

Did you know that couches and other common household items including many children’s products contain harmful flame retardant chemicals? I didn’t have any idea about this health hazard until I started doing some research. The Chicago Tribune has extensively reported on flame retardants and about how these chemicals “migrate out of products into household dust ingested by people, especially young children.” They also reveal that there are studies showing “some flame retardants can make smoke from fires even more toxic.” Numerous scientific studies have shown that many flame retardant chemicals can cause cancer, reproductive difficulties, developmental problems and other serious health issues. 

I found out that firefighters are at such high risk from dangerous chemicals that women firefighters in my city are diagnosed with breast cancer at 6 times the rate of other women.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has the power to help put an end to unnecessary flame retardants in furniture and other everyday products. But instead of taking strong action, they may be moving to obstruct vital health protections. Please sign my petition to show them that people like us matter! The Commission had a July 1 deadline for comments, and continuing to sign and share will make a real impact on this public health issue.

I know that my children are proud of the work I do, and I strive to be a good role model for them. But I never expected that giving back in this way would expose me to cancer-causing flame retardant chemicals that are threatening my life and  the future I’m trying to build for my family.

Fire safety experts are on record testifying that these dangerous flame retardant chemicals do not even effectively prevent fires in furniture and many other products, but huge chemical companies are behind efforts to keep their products in household items despite what’s happening to people like me.

As I have traveled through my cancer journey, I have asked myself, how I can be a catalyst for change? I want my story to help bring about change and slow the rate of cancer and exposure to toxins, not just for firefighters but for our children. The chemical industry is well-funded so I decided to work with the Center for Environmental Health on this campaign because I believe our health is the most important gift we have for ourselves and our families.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission had until July 1 to hear official from you and we sent over 75,000 signatures! Please keep the pressure on and continue to sign to ask that they prioritize public safety over chemical companies’ bottom lines. Tell them to put a stop to dangerous flame retardant chemicals.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 75,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Marie Ayre HOBART, AUSTRALIA
      • 2 days ago

      any steps to reduce preventable cancer should be an industry priority...

    • Brigit Haucke MINOCQUA, WI
      • about 1 month ago

      My daughter was a firefighter. She gave it up to have children.

    • Karen McHugh OAKLEY, CA
      • 2 months ago

      My father was a firefighter for 30 years, my brother retiring this year. Both

    • Agustin LaRue SAN FRANCISCO, CA
      • 3 months ago

      I believe that the flame retardants do more harm than good.

    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • 4 months ago

      What is breast cancer?

      Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. The damaged cells can invade surrounding tissue, but with early detection and treatment, most people continue a normal life.

      acts about Breast Cancer in the United States

      One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

      Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.

      Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women.

      Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.

      Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 410 will die each year.

      A Global Burden

      According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernization.

      Good News About Breast Cancer Trends

      In recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part to better due to screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.


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